My AD&D-lite Morale/Reaction rules - I love wargames and the little bits and pieces that the old school D&D games took from the wargame heritage. One of those is morale. The fact that hirelin...
1 day ago
|"Riding Down The Avenue" Rusty Russ|
The fact is that we can play this game for years and have no idea what it is that we are doing; I'm not saying that it is a bad thing, some people prefer to game this way, and if it works for your audience than you are playing it right. All I am saying is that once we identify what the system does we can focus on its benefits and tailor it to our specific needs.
The DM's most important job is game design. Before hiding our mechanics it is necessary that we know what they are. All games should contain the same elements: Mystery, Role-playing, Conflict, Exploration, Logic, Reward, there are probably many more, but these five things are required in varying degrees to have a successful game, the more we can discover the simpler we can keep our game design. The rules of the game are complex enough, the idea is to make things simpler to play, not harder. Once we identify what the players really like to do, and what they don't, we can use this during our design stage.
"The Sky Makes Them Crazy" Rusty RussThis is a hard lesson to learn, we don't like to see our friends lose, we are afraid that they will get upset; however setting up “You Win” scenarios is insulting to them. If we take away the risk of failure, we also take away the glory of success. If we let one player fail a saving throw and get away with it just because he has low hit points and will die, than what is the point of putting the trap there in the first place? If the person behind him fails their roll as well, but has the hit points to take it, it isn't fair that they have to suffer the effects while the other person did not.
It sucks to lose, we all know this; but we've accomplished nothing by coddling players. If all of the players die because of the traps, then we know that it was poorly designed (or the thief is sleeping), and the scenario was unbalanced, and not fair. If that is the case, then the plan must be altered, and the players may try again with the same characters.
While we want the game to be functional, at the same time we don't want our game design to be fixed. We have no idea what the players are going to see in our design, and we don't want to be over predictable. I say it over and over again, D&D is a cooperative game, and that includes us. If the players come up with a new idea during their planning stage, you get to decide whose idea is better, your original one, or theirs. A good game design features ideas that can be swapped to different places. Making a game easier or more difficult can be done at the table during play . . . in moderation. We don't want to remove any risks and replace them with instant rewards, but we don't want the player's to feel like they aren't getting anywhere either. The bigger the risk, the greater the reward but the harsher the consequences if it doesn't pan out.
If a scenario looks like it is going to go really bad, let it. See where it goes before over-reacting to it. Players are well known for implementing ill advised high risk plans hoping that you will crumble; as the DM, be brave, and let it ride. Total Party Kill resulting from a high risk venture is a logical outcome. Just because the party made things worse, and is now dead doesn't mean that the scenario is over. They have done something that is just as meaningful to the campaign world as defeating a powerful enemy, they have made it stronger. The victory conditions have been satisfied, the enemy has won. The story continues, the fantasy world still revolves, what does this mean for the new characters? That can be just as exciting as winning the scenario. It now belongs to them.
Innkeepers who always fit stereotype says something to the player, forget me. To have characters be memorable they should break stereotype. Don't be afraid to be bizarre, to allow nonsense into your game. Random Generators were designed to provide unpredictability, use them. It is fun to try and make sense of two things that don't go together. A completely logical game that is totally all planed out and is executed perfectly to the designed specifications implemented by the DM is boring. We shouldn't be responsible for interpreting everything, we might know these answers, or we might not. It is just like the drawer up above, it doesn't matter until the players open the drawer.
Creativity thrives on limitations; it requires defined perimeters to stabilize it else it will fall apart under the close scrutiny of the user. Creativity should enhance logic, not replace it. They can and will work together, if you make them.